Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I have listened to about 91 hours of news at this time. Recent words include "contest" (ประกวด) and "category" (ประเภท).

VOA recently started making mp3s with transcripts available, which makes a huge difference to me. The online dictionary Thai2English has a feature that allows submission of text from an entire document and easily lookup of any word in the document. Together with transcripts from VOA, this makes it very efficient to find and research new words.

Steve Kaufmann was kind enough to comment on a recent post and give some suggestions about building vocabulary and flashcards. I'm experimenting with new approaches, including modified flashcard practice. I emphasize listening over everything else, but I've recently been uploading unfamiliar words from VOA mp3s to the excellent WordLearner website and practicing them there. This really helps my listening and reading comprehension. I then use repeated listening to help "acquire" what I've "learned".

Since I'm looking up more words and practicing them in an unnatural way, I'm breaking the input model slightly more now than I was before. The upside is that my listening comprehension is much better. On balance, I think this approach is a big improvement. I'm still experimenting and changing it quite a lot.


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Edwin said...


I have been wondering about learning vocabulary recently. Last year, I did not do it in any formal way, and I only wrote down a few new words.

Beginning this month, I have decided to learn the French vocabulary seriously. But I am still experimenting different techniques.

Currently, I cut and paste all the new/forgotten words I have encountered on a spreadsheet. Then I would import the list to JMemorize and try to memorize them.

As Steve has pointed out, linking is very important. Currently, I don't have any way to do this. Unfortunately, Linguist for French is not out yet.

This Wordlearner.com looks promising. I will check it out. Thanks for the link!

Scott Imig said...

Hi, Edwin,

I enjoy following your blog.

I'll look forward to reading about your experiences studying French vocabulary. I've been really impressed with my free account at wordlearner.com. They even have a toolbar that you can install on your browser. You can configure it to look up words in your online dictionary and add them to your word lists.

You may already know about this, but Radio Japan posts mp3s and transcripts of its daily French news broadcasts at its website. So does VOA, and I'm sure there are others.

I find that news broadcasts provide a really good mix of intermediate-level vocabulary for the purpose of language study.

Thanks for stopping by and for your comment!

Edwin said...

I checked out VOA last month. I believe the articles are not exact transcripts of the audio files.

I have been having a hard time finding free audio/transcripts from the web at my level. Some are too easy and others are just too hard, such as the RFI one, which is supposed to be a simplified version of their original news.

For sure I will check out the Japanese site. Thanks!

Scott Imig said...

Hi, Edwin,

You are absolutely right about the VOA French site. Sorry, I just assumed it was similar to the Thai site without listening.

The transcription for French at Radio Japan is good, but I think if RFI is too advanced, Radio Japan will be, too.

By the way, have you ever tried the free online videos French in Action? I've heard good things about them.